UAE Oaks Winner Khawlah Takes UAE Derby

The US$2 million UAE Derby, sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group was an absolute thriller at Meydan on Saturday evening. Saeed bin Suroor saddled his seventh UAE Derby winner as the UAE Oaks winner, Khawlah, bravely collared Master of Hounds in the final metres to win by a nose under Mickael Barzelona in a final time of 1:58:83.

Godolphin secured its seventh UAE Derby victory, and its first with a filly. Khawlah broke from the stalls and settled in to seventh early. Mickael Barzalona followed his pre-race instructions well according to bin Suroor.

“I talked to Mickael before the race just to keep her in that position to keep her happy and relaxed,” he said.

Khawlah edged up to fifth as they rounded the turn, then began her move as the field straightened for home. Barzelona kept the filly under right-handed urging and she was switched to her right lead midway down the stretch.

Barzelona said after the race, “It didn’t go at all like I’d hoped because she couldn’t get any cover, but she got me out of trouble. She was very brave and finished really well. It’s a dream to win here.”

Runner-up Master of Hounds could not fend Khawlah off late but his rider was not discouraged after the race.

“He ran very well for his first run of the season. He felt to me like he would come on from that,” said Ryan Moore.

The first filly to win the UAE Derby, Khawlaw is by Cape Cross, out of the Selkirk mare Villarrica. Saeed bin Suroor revealed his plans for the Derby-winning filly.

“We will target the Epsom Oaks,” said the trainer. “She will run in the Musidora Group Three at York and then the English Oaks.”

Contested at 1900m on the All-Weather since 2010, trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Mike De Kock have secured every running of the UAE Derby between them. Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor added to their win in the Godolphin Mile (Skysurfers) with the victory.